RUMFORD — Lacking its earlier mojo but still packing heavy rainfall, Tropical Storm Irene caused brooks and streams to rise rapidly on Sunday wreaking havoc in Oxford and Franklin counties.
By Sunday evening, Andover had nearly 6 inches of rain, followed by Bethel with 4.75 inches Brownfield with 4.27 inches and New Sharon with 4.15 inches.
By early afternoon, police, fire departments and highway crews began closing submerged or damaged roads from Rumford to Carrabassett Valley.
Gusting winds also wreaked havoc with power lines across much of the two Western Maine counties, felling trees onto them and houses in West Bethel and Oxford.
Trees fell on a house in Oxford, destroying it and sending two people to a shelter at the American Legion in that town, Allison Hill, Oxford County Emergency Management Agency in Paris, said.
Route 27 was shut down after the Carrabassett River bridge at the Sugarloaf Access Road in Carrabassett Valley washed completely out, Clyde Ross, Franklin County EMA spokesman, said early Sunday evening.
Route 4 in Madrid was also shut down for a while, but Ross said a Maine Department of Transportation crew fixed the damage and reopened the highway by early evening.
Ross said Phillips and Avon both have problems with flooding from Sandy River "and we're going to have problems on down the river."
"Sandy River is very full from Phillips down to Strong now, so we're going to have plenty of water down in Farmington by the time we're done," he said.
The section of Route 4 by McDonald's restaurant that typically floods was still passable by early evening, but Ross said that's likely to change during the night.
The George Thomas Road (Route 41) in Chesterville and New Sharon was closed Sunday evening due to flooding, he said.
"There are several roads in Wilton that have been closed, with a lot of them getting washouts and culverts out, too," Ross said.
Several trees were felled by Irene in Farmington and Wilton, he said.
Among the other highway closures were Route 120 in Rumford and Route 17 in Mexico and Byron. Route 17 was under 2 feet of water, Mexico fire Chief Gary Wentzell said.
Two sets of trees took out power lines on Route 232 in Rumford, forcing closure of that road as well.
Other roads that were closed due to flooding, trees or downed power lines are Route 5 in Lovell, the Andover Road and Elm Street in Andover, and Route 26 in Grafton Notch.
In Rumford, Bean Brook shot out of its banks and onto Spruce Street, undermining it in several places and stranding residents in their homes on the east side of the street below Holyoke and Maine avenues.
Residents on the west side of the street were evacuated, Diana Casey. of Rumford, said.
"I've lived in Rumford my whole life and never seen anything like this here," she said, watching silt-laden brook water rage past her house.
"This just blows my mind. I took a walk down to the road and it was like I was on a riverboat."
Casey said one minute the road was clear, and the next, Bean Brook was careening madly down it.
"There was nothing here and then all of a sudden, it just whoomped!" she said.
Lori Chase said she looked out and saw her Spruce Street yard starting to flood. She maneuvered her car onto her lawn and as far out of the flooding driveway as she could.
"I can't get out," she said.
The brook raged down its channel and through neighborhoods on the west side of Spruce Street, where it regained the channel by cutting across an apartment lawn and driveway.
On Routes 2 and 108 by the Information Booth, water was fountaining into the air out of a storm drain manhole cover.
South Rumford Road was also closed due to flooding, as were Isthmus and Swain Roads.
Several basements flooded in Rumford, with water in one at 200 Plymouth Ave. above the furnace and rising toward the electrical panel.
A homeowner at 40 Holyoke Ave. called for help with a flooding basement, but Rumford firefighters tried in vain to find a safe way there before radioing dispatch that they couldn't get there.
Oxford and Franklin county EMA officials said they weren't aware of any injuries. Additionally, no one sought to ride out the storm in shelters other than the two forced to leave their destroyed house in Oxford, Hill said.
By early evening, Rumford firefighters were considering opening up a shelter at Mountain Valley High School for trapped residents on the east side of Spruce Street, she said.
Rumford fire Chief Bob Chase didn't return a call by press time.